The much hyped Private Member’s Bill moved by Congress MP K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao failed to come up for discussion in Rajya Sabha on Friday, thanks to the din in the House over AAP member Bhagwant Mann’s controversial video recording of the Parliament premises. The Bill seeking special status for Andhra Pradesh has been pending before the Upper House since the last budget session.
The Bill is supposed to come up for debate next Friday, but it is unlikely to be taken up in view of the conflicting stands by parties from Andhra Pradesh. All major parties including the ruling Telugu Desam Party and opposition YSR Congress have extended their support to the Bill, while Congress, which has some members in the RS has even issued a whip to its members to back it.
The two parties have been forced to extend support to the Private Member’s Bill moved by Ramachandra Rao, who is popularly known as KVP in AP, as the special status issue has become an emotional plank in the state.
If the Andhra parties distance themselves from the Bill, it will give the impression that they are opposing the move to grant special status to AP and Congress is the only party which cares to fight for this popular cause. KVP in his personal capacity has written letters to TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy seeking their support to his Bill.
Though both parties had announced they would support the Bill if it was put to voting in RS on Friday, the TDP and YSR Congress have attacked the Congress for championing the cause of special status for AP only after it lost power at the Centre. TDP member and Union minister Sujana Chowdary lashed out at the Congress for betraying AP on the special status issue when it was in power. “If Congress was sincere in wishing to grant special status to AP at the time of the bifurcation of the combined state on 2 June 2014, the party (Congress) which was in power then at the Centre should have included it in the AP Reorganization Act itself,” he told the media in New Delhi. AP Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu, who spoke to this newspaper, said that the Congress has no moral right to fight for the cause of AP now. “The party (Congress) which completely lost its political ground in AP is trying to regain it,” he said.
Ramakrishnudu pointed out why the Congress hasn’t moved an official motion seeking special status to AP, instead of highlighting the issue through a Private Member’s Bill. “A Private Member’s Bill has no binding on the government. There are several instances when such bills had failed to become laws after being passed,” said the minister.
BJP is the only party opposing the Bill. BJP MP from Visakhapatnam, K. Haribabu said that the Centre has already made it clear that granting special status to AP might not be possible at this juncture.
Private Member’s Bills are debated in RS on Friday afternoons.
But the indications suggest that KVP’s Bill might not see the light on any of the three remaining Fridays—29 July, 5 August and 12 August, before the session concludes.